The Pleasures of Passion

Written by Sabrina Jeffries
Review by Ray Thompson

Niall and Brilliana are in love, but when he asks her to accompany him to the Continent after he kills someone in a duel, she refuses. Years later he returns after receiving a pardon, but in exchange he must help a spymaster trap a counterfeiter. The cover for his investigation is to pretend to be the fiancé of Brilliana, now a beautiful widow. Since they blame each other for betrayal, the situation is fraught, to say the least. But though buried, their feelings have never died, and since this is a Regency, true love triumphs against adversity.

As in most series, the novel is peopled with characters from earlier books whose backstory can be a distraction; though hardly unexpected given the title, the sexual encounters seem reckless; and the conclusion teeters on the edge of melodrama. This is, nevertheless, an involving tale, a double mystery, really. Unmasking the counterfeiter, though satisfying, is really a device to throw the protagonists together again, and it is overshadowed by the gradual, and more interesting, revelation of the true circumstances that separated the young lovers. They need to learn to trust their own hearts, and each other, once again. Not an easy journey. Recommended.